Clinical Nurse Specialist
Clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) are advanced practice nurses with hands-on experience, advanced knowledge, and certification in a specific specialization. The CNS must complete graduate-level nursing education and substantial training in order to practice autonomously and appropriately assess, diagnose, and manage patient problems. The patient population types that a clinical nurse specialist treats, the type of care needed, the medical setting, or the type of sickness or illness that they treat characterize the sort of specialized area that a clinical nurse specialist works in. A common misconception is that clinical nurse specialists and nurse practitioners are the same thing, but they’re not the same thing, even though they are both advanced nurses with separate scopes of practice. Clinical nurse specialists typically focus on research, education, and consulting, whereas nurse practitioners typically do duties such as taking patients’ health histories and functioning as their primary care providers.
What does a Clinical Nurse Specialist do?
Some of the duties that a CNS might carry out include:
- Evaluate and design population-based programs of care along with patient-specific programs
- Work efficiently with other healthcare professionals to best serve the patient
- Supervise other nurses and staff
- Diagnose a patients’ health problems
- Order tests to be done and then analyze them
- Conduct research and help maintain departmental policies, stands, and procedures
How to Become a Clinical Nurse Specialist
If you’re thinking about becoming a CNS, keep in mind that there’s a long path to take before reaching that goal. Aspiring CNSs should be aware that they will need to complete a graduate-level nursing degree. Students pursue advanced pharmacology, advanced pathophysiology, and advanced physical/health assessment courses while pursuing a graduate degree. Ethics, research techniques, and healthcare system management will be among the other crucial topics. Prospective clinical nurse specialists can apply for various CNS certifications such as adult health, pediatric health, and others after completing an MSN or DNP program through organizations like the American Nurse Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). The following is the educational requirements to become a CNS:
- Complete and pass the NCLEX-RN exam
- Have an active and unrestricted RN license
- Achieve a Bachelor of Science in Nursing
- If targeting research, an MSN or DNP degree is usually required
- Complete 500 clinical hours that have been supervised within the population that you’re going to be specializing in
There’s plenty of certifications that you can acquire to further education or be certified in a specific specialty.
How much do Clinical Nurse Specialists make?
A clinical nurse specialists’ salary can have multiple factors that determine how much they make per year, such as education, certifications, and how much experience they have. But the average salary for a CNS in the United States as of 2021 is $109,437 but can range from $89,397 to $129,375.